MARK Bower is hoping for a good run in the FA Trophy as Bradford Park Avenue prepare to join the competition in next Saturday's third qualifying round.

Avenue barely made any distance along the road to Wembley in this season's FA Cup as they faced just three ties, one of which was a replay.

The draw in that competition was unkind as it pitted them against league rivals Southport and then Harrogate Town, both away from home.

Monday's draw for the Trophy handed Bradford a home tie and against a side from a division below.

Stourbridge play their football in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division and are currently seventh, immediately below Farsley Celtic but with games in hand on Adam Lakeland's men.

Bower is expecting a tough tie against the Glassboys and has begun his homework, saying: "They have a good away record in their league this season and they beat Alfreton Town in the FA Cup.

"They are pushing for promotion to our league and you only have to look at the two clubs that won promotion from their league last season, Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor Town, to see that there's very little to choose between the divisions.

"Both Blyth and Spennymoor are in the top five of National North, so they are have done really well, and Stourbridge finished just behind them in third at the end of last season.

"We're treating this game as we would any against a team from our own league because we know they have as much quality as any of the sides we play week in, week out."

Stourbridge won 3-1 against Avenue's rivals Alfreton before being knocked out of the FA Cup by National League side Macclesfield Town and that run to the fourth qualifying round has impacted on their season.

Although they are just outside the play-off places in the Evo-Stik League top tier, they have played three games fewer than Farsley and at least two less than four of the other five clubs above them.

Playing against a side from a lower division at home suggests the Trophy tie will be a no-win one for Avenue. If they are victorious, it will be the expected result and no credit will be given, but if they lose, they will be pilloried.

Yet Bower does not see it that way and said: "This is a massive game for us because we want to progress in this competition.

"York City won it last year even though they were relegated to our division, Halifax did it the year before and also came down, while the year before that North Ferriby United won it as a side from our league.

"That should say to clubs like us that it is achievable and we should go for it.

"It's always good to get a run in a national competition because of the prize money and the fact that it raises the profile of the club.

"We want that coverage and that awareness of Bradford, so we're keen to go a long way in it – especially after we were so hard done by in this year's FA Cup.

"People might say we should win this tie but it doesn't matter what other people think, this will be a difficult tie."